The number of teens who pick up smoking globally is astounding and the number keeps rising by the day. Smoking is already a scourge among adults and it is an epidemic when talking about teens. So what exactly can be done to reverse this situation and have more teens quit smoking rather picking up the habit? Parents have a strong role to play when it comes to helping teens quit smoking.
- Lead Them to Acceptance
More than often, you will suspect that your teen is smoking but won’t know for sure until you catch them at it. Teens don’t generally smoke openly and most are closet smokers making it the more difficult to get them to quit. It will be a difficult task, but the first step is to get your teen to accept that they have a problem which they need to address. Family interventions and professional help might be what you need to get your teen to face the reality that they have picked up a negative habit that they need to kick.
Every day, almost 3,900 adolescents under 18 years of age try their first cigarette. More than 950 of them will become daily smokers.
- Quit with your Teen
Chances are that your teen probably picked up smoking out of curiosity from watching you light up several times or simply from peer pressure. If you are a smoker, the best way to get your teen to quit is to quit with them. Set a good example and they are likely to follow it, same way they probably picked up smoking because you do. Explain how smoking has over run your life and that you are trying every possible way to quit. It is also important to make a stand against smoking, whether you smoke or not, and this will go a long way in establishing a smoke-free policy in your home.
- Use the Vanity Card
Let’s face it, most teens are driven by vanity and you can use this to help your teen quit smoking. Remind your teen why smoking is not as glamorous as they think and use visual support as much as possible. Show them what smoking does to the body aesthetically including yellowing on the teeth, staining of the hands, aging of the skin and remind them of the perpetual ‘smoker’s breath and smell.’ This will help the reality dawn on them that they are jeopardizing their ‘cool factor’ by keeping on smoking.
- Cut them Off
Whether you like it or not, you are financing your teen’s smoking habits. Your teen is buying packs of cigarettes from the allowances you give them and it could be time to take drastic action. Cut them off and if they choose to keep on smoking let them finance it themselves. This can work either way; your teen might rebel or actually give up smoking because they can no longer afford it. It helps to think ahead and come up with strategies to fix or encourage the outcome respectively.
- Get Real with the Effects of Smoking
Teens never want to think about the future and they often do not think about the long term effects of smoking. Using real-life examples of family, friends and loved ones or even celebrities help them see what smoking can lead to. This should sober them up a bit to the harsh realities of long term smoking.
Helping a teen smoking is a difficult process particularly in the case of rebellious teens. However, teens have a higher likelihood of quitting and more to gain from quitting if they stop as soon as possible. Get professional help if need be to help your teen kick the habit for good.